Other iPhone Reception and Technology

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by BiggAW, May 12, 2018.

  1. BiggAW macrumors 68030

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    #1
    I've been trying to make sense of various reports online about the various iPhone models and how they perform in terms of reception. The X seems to be quite a bit weaker than the 8 Plus, and obviously Intel is inferior to Qualcomm.

    My big question is, how does the 8 Plus compare to the S8/S9, and how much does 4x4 MIMO matter? Apple really screwed up by not including 4x4 MIMO in the iPhone 8, as they released a phone that was already way behind Samsung in radio technology, even though Apple is way ahead in CPU performance.

    What should we be expecting in the fall? The new phones appear to all be roughly based on the X, but they are going to have to be a totally new RF design to accommodate 4x4 MIMO.

    I'm tempted by the 8 Plus, but there's just something wrong about buying a phone that came out with obsolete radio technology the day it came out.
     
  2. PhoneMe1 Suspended

    PhoneMe1

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    #2
    As long as it can make and receive calls who cares.
     
  3. Banglazed macrumors 68020

    Banglazed

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    #3
    Who knows? Rumors stated the upcoming iPhone may have a better antenna placement that may support 4x4 mimo with Intel latest gigabit modem. Either way, I think it wouldn't matter that much currently until carriers fully deploy 5G and modem manufacturers will need to caliberate to carriers 5G bands.

    If you don't like Intel modem, you can always purchase SIM-free unlocked iPhone with Qualcomm modem about a month after release. However, Apple may capped Qualcomm modem to level performance to Intel modem.
     
  4. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #4
    I had a Note 8 for awhile, then bought an iPhone X when it came out — and I had heard about the older radio tech on the iPhone so I compared them. In terms of data reception it was no contest—the Note smoked the iPhone 10 in speed tests and got solid data reception in places where the iPhone struggled. I did this where my Mom lives in a rural area and that is where the new tech makes the most difference. In urban areas I don’t think the difference is as big.

    I ended up keeping the iPhone because in total it still is a better user experience for me but yeah, hoping Apple updates that old radio tech.
     
  5. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #5
    It actually does matter a lot. 4x4 MIMO doesn't require network support to gain significant benefits in weak signal reception, as 4x4 MIMO phones revert to antenna diversity mode when there isn't a 4x4 MIMO network available. Of course everything is speculation at this point, and Apple could completely get rid of the Qualcomm modems and go all Intel, which would probably be a net loss for reception.

    A good piece of evidence is comparisons between Samsung phones that have 4x4 MIMO and the 8/8 Plus.

    The iPhone X is known to be quite a bit weaker than the iPhone 8/ 8 Plus. Also, do you have an Intel or Qualcomm X?
     
  6. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #6
    I have the Verizon model, which I believe is Qualcomm right?
     
  7. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Verizon, Sprint, and Unlocked are Qualcomm. AT&T and T-Mobile are Intel.
     
  8. JPack macrumors 68040

    JPack

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    #8
    We already saw a big performance advantage on the Galaxy S7 when Samsung introduced 4x4 MIMO on that model. In terms of speed, it roughly doubles when indoor, especially if the user is close a tower.

    4x4 MIMO and Gigabit LTE are almost certainly coming to the iPhone this year. Intel modems finally support GbE. It's probably one of the most underrated performance features. Not everyone will care about the bandwidth, but everyone cares about the reduced latency.
     
  9. Vermifuge macrumors 68000

    Vermifuge

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    #9
    I have literally never considered radio reception when buying a mobile and I doubt it is in the mind of the average consumer. The average consumer = not being a member of these forums.
     
  10. Septembersrain macrumors 68040

    Septembersrain

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    #10
    Many wouldn't consider this. I do.

    The reason? I faced so many times without cell reception to find out that my iPhone 7 Plus has an Intel modem that performs differently than its Qualcomm alternate.

    That they crippled the Qualcomm when it had so much potential just to save a few bucks with Intel and to stick it to them.

    So I started caring. Since then I've moved on to the V30+. I have data in places I never imagined I would. It's crazy.
     
  11. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #11
    Wait... the S7? I thought it was 2x2 MIMO except for maybe one special T-Mobile model? My S7 is definitely slower than my Mom's S8 on AT&T.

    I'm not concerned about what happens when I'm near a tower under normal circumstances. If it's really congested, maybe, but that's rare. I'm much more concerned about performance when I'm at -121dBm barely holding on to a bar of LTE. How much longer can I hold on, and how much of a performance boost will I see from the antennas operating in diversity mode? I would say I don't care about performance with towers that are running 4x4, but in a few years, a lot of towers will probably have it, even though few do today.

    I think the latency will require tower support though, right? The improved reception doesn't due to diversity mode on the antennas. I don't have a good handle on how many towers are upgraded, but considering that AT&T still has towers that don't have LTE at all, I'd imagine it will be quite a while before it's widely deployed across the footprint of their network. I suppose it could still be useful deep in a building in an urban area or something though.

    I really hope that they add B14 and 4x4 MIMO, and do it in a way that it has great reception, and have Qualcomm models available. Intel just doesn't make radios and modems that are as good as Qualcomm.

    Yeah, unfortunately, it's not even in most of the reviews, even though it's literally one of the most important things a phone can do and do well. I'm constantly on one bar, and holding out just a bit longer before dropping is huge. Box stores are awful, but I've run into numerous rural areas where I was jumping between no signal and signal, and that's on a Galaxy S7 with a Qualcomm modem, which is generally a good performer.

    Yeah, that does piss me off. They should have stuck with Qualcomm. At least you can just buy it from the Apple store and get a Qualcomm modem, and it doesn't cost any more than from AT&T.
     
  12. Matz Contributor

    Matz

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    #12
    I’ve noticed less than stellar reception on my iPhone X. I also carry a company-provided iPhone 7. And my gf has my old iPhone 6. All of them are Verizon, except my 6 was originally on at&T.

    A couple of days ago, we were somewhere that had marginal cell coverage.
    The X said “1x”; the 7 had two bars, and the 6 had three.

    They all have relatively thin cases. Next time the opportunity presents, I’ll try the same test with all three cases removed.

    In any case - sorry - I’m disappointed in my supposedly state of the art iPhone. Ah well.
     
  13. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #13
    Yeah, a lot of people have said that the iPhone X doesn't have the greatest reception, which is unfortunate, considering that reception is pretty much the most important thing a phone can do.
     
  14. timeconsumer macrumors 68000

    timeconsumer

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    #14
    I’ve noticed my signal and data has been degrading on my iPhone 7 Plus. Verizon’s network supports 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM in a lot of markets now. Off of WiFi my phone is sometimes useless. Never have I been more tempted to switch to something else. That said, I’ll probably wait until the 2018 iPhones release and upgrade if they support 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM.
     
  15. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

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    #15

    I can not remember having a dropped call in over a year. I have owned both the 8+ and now the X and never had a call drop on AT&T in Jacksonville and Atlanta and everywhere between.

    Unless you live in an area with poor coverage or use a carrier with poor coverage it should not matter.
     
  16. Beelzbub macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I have an Intel iPhone 8. Honestly, I think it does better than the Qualcomm 6S+ I had. In places where signal was marginal, where I had a weak LTE signal and data was next to unusable unless I disabled LTE with my 6S+, the Intel 8 does much better, data is usable on LTE or it will automatically switch to 4G where data is still usable, whereas my 6S+ would not auto switch, it would latch on that very weak LTE signal and web pages wouldn't load. I know pretty much everyone bashes the Intel models, but for me the experience with an Intel model has been much better than what it was with my Qualcomm model. I know in the same areas I visit with weaker signal, my iPad which is cellular will also latch on to the weak LTE signal and data is unusable, I can manually disable LTE and it will connect to 4G and things work just fine or I will flip on the hot spot of my Intel 8 and I can use my iPad just fine.
     
  17. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #17
    It's about data, not calls, but the reception absolutely matters. When I'm traveling, I often find myself on the edge between one bar of LTE and Faux G that's almost useless, or sometimes no signal at all. A phone with 4x4 MIMO and Qualcomm radios will often have working data when an Intel iPhone would have no service. The simple fact of the matter is that no matter what carrier you have, there are weak/no service areas, and the better a signal you can grab, the better off you are. The same goes for in-building coverage. I often find myself on one bar inside buildings, and sometimes with nothing. With a non-Qualcomm radio, I'd lose service that much quicker.

    For me, the iPhone is completely off the table if they don't have a model with a Qualcomm X20, B14, and 4x4 MIMO come fall. We'll see. The Galaxy S9+ and soon the Note 9 are strong contenders, so there's no reason to settle on poor RF performance at this point. The Galaxy S9+ is absolutely tenacious with RF signals.
     
  18. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

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    #18

    Moving to an Android phone is not an option for me. Sounds like you are fed up with Apple and time to move.
     
  19. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #19
    I've been on Android for a while. I am kind of fed up with my Galaxy S7, but from what I've heard the S9+ is really good. I'm waiting to see what Apple comes up with in the fall, but no matter what I need a phone that actually WORKS and does't drop the signal earlier than it should, i.e. a phone with a Qualcomm radio and good RF performance. The phone has to have good RF performance to even be an option. That being said, the way Apple is going towards Intel, I will likely stick with Android. I loved my 4s, it lasted much longer than any of my Galaxies, but at the end of the day, RF performance is make or break, and having an SD slot and a headphone jack is icing on the cake.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 18, 2018 ---
    I'm getting a new iPad though, as I do want to have iOS on something, and the iPad is pretty awesome for reading.
     
  20. FFR macrumors 68040

    FFR

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    #20
    I have an iPhone X with an Intel modem.
    I get about 120Mbps. Don’t get what the fuss is about.
    [​IMG]

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/07/18/speedtest-ookla-us-mobile-internet-speeds-fastest-carriers/

    “If you live in or often visit Minneapolis, Ookla has good news for you: the company says that locale tops the list of US cities with the fastest mobile internet, with a mean download speed of 44.92 Mbps. Ookla, which analyzed data from its Speedtest app from the first half of the year”

    45Mbps isn’t very fast, it looks like the problem might be with the networks in the Us and not with intel modems.
     
  21. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #21
    You WILL have more NO SERVICE with an Intel modem than a Qualcomm modem. That's just a fact. There's a lot of times where it's very marginal/weak on my Qualcomm phone, or bouncing in and out of service, an Intel phone would spend more time with NO SERVICE than my phone does.
     
  22. FFR macrumors 68040

    FFR

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    #22
    Actually it’s not.
    Both models would have the same antenna array.
    With the iPhone 7, the only difference between the Qualcomm and the intel modem is 150 Mbps of theatrical speed. Real world difference is negligible.
     
  23. Shanghaichica macrumors G3

    Shanghaichica

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    #23
    I think some of the android phones have better download speeds but on paper but I think in real life usage you probably wouldn’t really notice a diffence or at least not be effected in your day to day usage. 4G speeds on my iPhones have been effected more by my carrier than the fact that I’m using an iphone.
     
  24. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #24
    You clearly don't understand. The Intel modems are less sensitive than Qualcomm modems. With the same antennas in otherwise the same phone, they will drop the signal sooner than a Qualcomm model, and they take longer to re-establish a connection, especially on the subway.

    You notice when the Android phone and the Qualcomm iPhone both have one bar and are pulling 2mbps and the Intel iPhone has NO SERVICE.
     
  25. FFR macrumors 68040

    FFR

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    #25
    Are you testing an iPhone with both modems and an android simultaneously?

    How do you know?
     

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